from the Iowa District Court for Marshall County, John J.
defendant appeals her conviction for second-degree theft.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Nan Jennisch,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas J. Ogden, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.
Verdinez was convicted of second-degree burglary,
second-degree theft, and using a juvenile to commit certain
offenses. Her argument on appeal is limited to her assertion
there is insufficient evidence she committed second-degree
theft under the theory of joint criminal conduct. We conclude
there is substantial evidence Verdinez committed burglary as
an aider and abettor, and, therefore, the flawed joint
criminal conduct instruction does not require reversal.
Background Facts and Proceedings
the evidence presented at trial, the jury could have found
the following: On July 13, 2016, Verdinez drove a juvenile,
P.S., to a rural property near Marshalltown, arriving at the
property at approximately 12:30 a.m. Verdinez had equipped
P.S. with two backpacks, gloves, and a flashlight; P.S. was
armed with her own two pocket knives "for [her]
protection" and a flashlight. Verdinez instructed P.S.
to knock on the front door but to enter through a nearby
window if the door was locked. She agreed they would split
whatever property P.S. could find and promised to stay in the
car to provide a lookout.
entered through the window and initially believed the house
was vacant, as Verdinez had told her. However, before
entering, she had seen a light in an upstairs window, and
after entering, she noticed laundry, dishes in the sink, and
other indications someone was living in the house. She
decided she would "go hard" and quickly took a
computer and office supplies to the car where Verdinez was
waiting. Verdinez told her to put the items in the back seat
and to re-enter the home to look for a vacuum cleaner. P.S.
re-entered and took two computer mice, an assortment of
jewelry, shoes, and a pack of cigarettes.
she could leave the house, officers responded to a 911 call
placed by the home's occupant from an upstairs bedroom.
They found Verdinez in the driver's seat of the car and
P.S. still inside the house. The officers found the computer
in the backseat of the car, and P.S.'s pockets were full
with the small items she had taken.
22, 2016, the county attorney charged Verdinez with
first-degree burglary, in violation of Iowa Code section
713.3 (2016); second-degree theft, in violation of Iowa Code
section 714.2(2); and using a juvenile to commit certain
offenses, in violation of Iowa Code section 709A.6; and
alleged the habitual offender sentencing enhancement was
applicable to Verdinez, pursuant to Iowa Code section 902.8.
After a jury trial, Verdinez was found guilty of
second-degree burglary, second-degree theft, using a juvenile
to commit certain offenses, and of being a habitual offender.
October 14, 2016, the district court sentenced Verdinez to
three terms of fifteen years in prison, with two terms
running concurrently and the third running consecutively to
the other two terms. The sentences were suspended, and
Verdinez was placed under the ...